Posts Tagged ‘Gina Galati’
I awoke from a nap Sunday afternoon and turned on Duke Ellington’s “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” and it dawned on me with a sharp pain, that I hadn’t been getting around much over the last few days. Jumped out of the shower and played “The Blue Pajama Song” – ah, our town’s Buddy Moreno – then headed for Ameristar Casino Resort’s ballroom. That’s where the Missouri Restaurant Association held its inaugural ball. While seated at a table with Monsignors Sal Polizzi and Vince Bommarito, hosted by the Missouri Baking’s Gambaro famiia, Msgr. Bommarito said the two clerics would head for Sin City’s MGM the next day for a vacation. “We’ll be there a week,” said Father Vince to which Father Sal
contradicted, “No, we’ll be there for five days.” Will they gamble? “He will, but I won’t,” insisted Father Vince, who continued to regal the guests with his story about lunching with funeral directors at Pietro’s. He said he warns the morticians in advance, “Nobody dies, while we’re there.” He continued to recall a grieving family, who insisted, “We don’t want a mass and let’s just go to the Pasta House after the funeral.” KSDK’s Heidi Glaus picked up the award as Media Person of the Year and announced, “This is perfect, because I don’t cook and eat out all the time.” With her were
her parents, educators Jill and Bill Glaus of Ballwin. The charming and ebullient Shelly Fortel of pizza fame was introed by emcee Jim Holder, who announced her new post as prez of the organization. In the wings, Fortel tipped her six stores will vend heart-shaped pizzas next month. Headlining the event was the presentation of Restaurateur of the Year to Mark Aizzi, owner of the 54 year-old, 300-seater landmark, Rigazzi’s on The Hill. Confined to a wheelchair, Aizzi, with his wife Joan and their five children, turned to the dinery’s chef, Jim Murphy, and asked him to reveal the upcoming entree – “Cacciatore over risotto and salzizia,” said Murray, who has been with the restaurant for almost 50 years. On hand for the event were: the association’s prez, Jack Borgmeyer of Grappa Grill;
Bart Saracino of Bartolino’s Osteria, Chris’ and Bartolino’s South; Lowell Martin, Jr., Ameristar’s food and bev guy; Roland DiGregorio; Corey and Sarah Miller; Jim “Socko” Lahrman; Diane and Chris Gambaro; Linda and Dario Gambaro and opera singer Gina Galati, who wowed the crowd with her singing of the National Anthem. Galati is the founder of Winter Opera St. Louis. Asked if there was a great deal of skimming by restaurateurs these days, tax attorney Harry Charles blurted, “I can’t tell you!”
EXIT: Stephanie Riven, executive director of the Center of Creative Arts, will retire from that august theater and dance organization on June 30, 2010, she said. “I wanted to do something on a national level and will be working with David Bury & Associates of New York, which represents the Merce Cunningham Legacy Project. I really don’t have to be in New York what with the internet, but I will commute occasionally.” Riven has helmed COCA for 23 years and over that time, she has been credited with raising more than $30 million. Insiders say that the board of directors had asked for her retirement several times.
GALA:“I’m dating Bob Tucker, an attorney with a Jewish firm on Clayton Road,” exclaimed Deb Kersting, Missouri executive director of the March of Dimes. Kersting orchestrated the Signature Chefs Auction and Dinner Wednesday night at the Ritz-Carlton ballroom. Kersting also fielded some questions about criticism of MOD for animal experiments in research funded by MOD. She explained, “PETA was upset because of a rogue researcher on cats. But we go by federal guidelines.” Unfortunately, the MOD has received two out of four stars by the Charity Navigator. Kersting also noted, that “the Catholic church wants us to be pro-life, but our mission is to make every baby happy.”The MOD focuses on serving mothers and prevent premature birth defects and infant mortaliy. Among the faces in the crowd was Annie Harman, who boasted her son “Doc” is an assistant editor on “Glee”, and assistant editor on the movie “Eat, Pray and Love,” produced by Brad Pitt. The evening featured an auction by J. Kim Tucci, a spread of signature dishes by our town’s leading restaurateurs and a rousing toast to its stalwart, Thom Sehnert. At the podium, Sehnert hailed fellow-eatery owner Vince Bommarito and praised his wife, Jane, and son, Liam. “Thom tells everyone he’s Irish, but there’s Scandinavian in him,” joked Joe Buck on tape. Jerry Clinton said, “Why he’s an outstanding guy? He drinks a lot. “His nickname, “Smokey” and it freaks him out,” said Dan Dierdorf. More than 700 guests showed up, bringing to more than $240,000 to benefit MOD. The usual clashing of dishes and silverware raised a question. Do they count silverware? “We don’t count silverware, however some accidentally goes in the garbage and some are taken by guests,” informed server Kristin Dodson.
DEM BONES:St. Louis City Dems will gather at Carpenters Hall on Saturday afternoon to attempt to select their nominee to fill the 4th Senate District seat from which Jeff Smith recently ejected. Reading the tea leaves, local politicos point out that only Joe Keaveany – a Central West End committeeman who can vote for himself – was spotted working the VIP crowd at the start of Monday’s Labor Day parade. He was accompanied by labor princess Mary Ellen Ponder, now chief lobbyist for St. Louis mayor Francis G. Slay, Jr.…
THIS & THATTA: A close reading of the names of the students who passed the most recent iteration of the Missouri Bar exam reveals the name of Michael Owens, the KSDK (Channel 5) reporter. Owens, if memory serves, graduated from Saint Louis University Law School ten years ago … Roger Dierberg has temporarily laid down his golf clubs while he recovers from a triple-bypass under the eagle eye of his ever-lovin’ Barbara … Spotted at Bartolino’s South were Terry Scarfino with wife, Michelle Mantia-Scarfino, heiress to Toni and Dick Mantia, a founder of PRIDE (the labor group, not the parade committee) … The former Mary Thele and her hub Art Lottes are back in Clayton for a visit from their home in Naples, FL … Eleanor Willibrand, with husband Jim, was all smiles at Paul Manno’s. Credit the smile to son, William, the celebrated tooth-puller … Skip Joseph is training to be a divorce mediator – though he and happy spouse Rachelle L’Ecuyer, the town crier of Maplewood, seem unlikely to need one soon. The pair are collecting a menagerie of pets, big and small … Over at Pumpernickel’s, Maury and Nicki Zimring were welcomed to our town from their Palm Springs digs by Geri and Mel Rich … Erstwhile Boatman’s Bank drumbeater Larry Bayliss exchanged “I do’s” with the former Peggy Hudson – ceremony at 9th Street Abbey, followed by a pouring at Greenbriar CC … David Kay — yesteryear chief of 9-0-5 Liquors and current partner in Blue Agave — and partner El Viejito — a classic Mexican tequila company (Patron Silver) — have intro’d “another lousy sunset in paradise” … If the Bonneville International team in town recently recommends the purchase of KMOX (1120 AM), will that mean a strong local signal to broadcast the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? (And did you know that KMOX daytime stalwart Rush Limbaugh once worked for Bonneville?) … Meanwhile, that station’s John Carney has been dubbed “octo-pop” with word that his wife is expecting another boyby in a couple of weeks, bringing the couple’s count to half-an-octave … Post-Dispatch op-ed columnist (and Donnybrook regular) Colleen Carroll Cambell is infanticipaing twins … St.Louis City Disability commish David Newburger is not impressed with the durability of the City’s new ADA-compliant signals. Expect angry letters… Dominic Galati and his daughter, Gina, are teaming up on Sept. 23 to offer a special evening of food and song, titled, “Opera Nights on the Hill.” Guests at Dominic’s on the Hill will enjoy a four-course dinner and be entertained by members of Gina’s New Opera St. Louis troupe, who will present a performance, “Deceptions and Disguise in Venice.” The reservation-only event begins at 7 p.m.
SPORTS NOTES OF A SORT: The late wrestling promoter Sam Muchnick’s protégé and former announcer for “Wrestling at the Chase” Larry Matysik has scribed his third page-turner, “Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works ” due to hit the stalls this week. There’s a 7 pm book-signing on Oct. 16 at the Sunset Hills Borders store. The tome, says its publicist, reveals comparisons between Muchnick and current WWE boss Vince McMahon …The St. Louis Browns Fan Club (www.thestlbrowns.com) is alive and well, celebrating its 25th anni with a dinner Oct. 8 at the Missouri Athletic Club. “We’re working hard to re-introduce the Knot Hole Gang,”‘ said William Rogers. Players expected to attend are: Roy Sievers; Ned Garver; Ed Mickelson; Bud Thomas, Bill Jennings and J.W. Porter. Mike Veeck, son of legendary Bill Veeck, the last owner of the team, is expected to appear as a special guest … Our Town’s mixed martial arts fighter Tyron Woodly, who was the undercard at the recent Scottrade Center event, has signed a six-bout contract with Showtime …
LOOKING BACK: It was in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, where a limo passed the Old Cathedral and the late CBS’er Walter Cronkite read the Latin emboldened on the facade of the treasure, winked at me, and asked them, “Hmm, do you know the translation of Sancti Ludovici.” Others in the limo struggled for an answer and had no idea. Nearby, in the bowels of One Memorial Drive, I showed an outdoor billboard campaign to the late Robert Hyland at KMOX. He stood back with hands on hips and sternly asked, “But, Jerry, will the little people understand it?” A few steps away in the old days at the Rock House on the levee there was Rock House Annie, whose claim to fame was emulating Josephine Baker and picking up silver dollars from the bar with her unmentionable body part. There was jazz on a paddlewheeler. Across the river in East St. Louis, one couldn’t miss the prostitutes leaning out windows of the tenements in “the valley,” out-shouting each to pitch their talents at bargain prices, (“Great for convention business,” enthused a manager at the long-gone Jefferson Hotel.) East St. Louis was wide open: gambling joints like Hyde Park, Buster Wortman’s Paddock Lounge (where people swooned over meeting a real-life gangster), Bush’s Steakhouse and Johnny Perkins’ Paladium was where smooth music by big bands was a house specialty. From the old Broadview Hotel, Marty Alpern broadcast interviews with “big names.” Ever onward, across the Eads Bridge to St. Louis. Then, the beautiful morning was ruined, when alongside was a sheriff’s van filled with prisoners on their way to a penitentiary. Further along the Great Divide – the Express Highway (now I-64) – we popped into Forest Park Highlands amusement park for a few dips on the dance floor to the music of Harry James, Jimmy Dorsey or Orin Tucker. A quick stop at Medart’s on Skinker Boulevard for a pick-me-upper and perhaps a few cups of coffee at Town Hall. The St. Louis phone book is now minus some of our town’s true leaders: David Calhoun, Buck Persons, Gussie Busch, Jim Hickok, Harry Harrington, Buster May, Howard Baer, Leif Sverdrup – all urbane and worldly, never giving up their vows to build a bigger and better city—and maybe they did. Nevertheless, they were the people upon whom we rested our hopes and half-aspirations.